1 Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:
The author of this epistle is the same who is elsewhere called Judas, Luke 6:16, who was one of the twelve apostles of Christ, whose name was also Lebbaeus, and whose surname was Thaddaeus, Matthew 10:3, the name is the same with Judah, Genesis 29:35, which comes from a word that signifies to praise or confess; and in the Rabbinical dialect is called Juda, as here. He styles himself the servant of Jesus Christ; though this is a title common to all believers, it is peculiar to an apostle, or minister of the Gospel; and therefore is used not merely in humility, and to acknowledge obedience to Christ, but as a title of dignity and honor: and the apostle goes on to describe himself by his natural relation, and brother of James; not the son of Zebedee, but of Alphaeus, Matthew 10:2; and this he mentions partly to distinguish himself from others of that name, as Judas Iscariot, and Judas called Barsabas; and partly for the sake of honor and credit, James being a very great man, a man of great note and esteem, and who seemed to be a pillar in the church, and was called the brother of our Lord, Galatians 2:9; an account of the persons to whom this epistle is inscribed next follows, to them that are sanctified by God the Father; which is to be understood not of internal sanctification, which is usually ascribed to the Spirit of God, but of the act of eternal election, which is peculiar to God the Father.
2 May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.
In this salutation the apostle wishes for a multiplication of mercy, from God the Father, by whom these persons were sanctified: mercy is a perfection in God; and shows itself in a special manner towards the elect, in the covenant of grace, in the provision of Christ as a Savior, in the mission of him into this world, in redemption by him, in the forgiveness of sin, in regeneration, and in their whole salvation; and the multiplication of it intends an enlarged view and fresh application of it, which they sometimes stand in need of, as under desertions, when they want the sense and manifestation of it to them; and under temptations and afflictions, when they need sympathy and compassion; and when they fall into sin they stand in need of the fresh discoveries and application of pardoning mercy to them. Moreover, herein is wished for a multiplication of peace from Christ, in whom these chosen ones were preserved; and may design a fresh and enlarged view of peace being made for them by his blood, and an increase of conscience peace in their own hearts, as the effect of it; and may include peace, and an abundance of it, among themselves, as well as all prosperity, both external, internal, and eternal: likewise in the salutation, love, and a multiplication of it is wished for from the Spirit of God, by whom they were called; and may be understood of the love with which God loved them; and which may be said to be multiplied, when it is gradually shed abroad in their hearts by the Spirit.
3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.
The apostle calls the persons he writes unto beloved; as they were of God, and by him and other saints; and he signifies his diligence in writing to them: and the subject of his writing was, of the common salvation; which designs either the Gospel, sometimes called salvation, in opposition to the law, which is a ministration of condemnation; and because it is a declaration of salvation, and a means of it; and may be said to be common, because preached to all, Jews and Gentiles: or Jesus Christ the Savior himself, who is also sometimes called salvation, because he was called and appointed to it, and undertook it, and is become the author of it; and may be said to be a common Savior, not of all men, but of all his people; of his whole body, the church, and every member of it, and of all sorts of men, in all nations: or else that spiritual and eternal salvation wrought out by him, which is common, not to all men, for all are not saved with it, but to all the elect of God, and true believers in Christ; the love of God is common to them all alike; the choice of them to eternal salvation is the same; the covenant of grace, the blessings and promises of it, are equally shared by them; and they are bought with the same price of Christ's blood, and are justified by the same righteousness, and are regenerated, sanctified, and called by the same grace.